Major research project launched to identify the next step in digitising the construction industry

October 2015

NBS, BSI (British Standards Institution) and the Construction Products Association (CPA) will be inviting professionals from throughout the construction industry to participate in a major research project looking at the feasibility and usefulness of a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for building products.

Part funded by Innovate UK and launched on 1 October 2015, the research will firstly establish how a common identification system for construction products could benefit the industry, as well as defining what additional information is usefully held with a DOI. If shown to be beneficial to the industry, the later stages will build on this initial work to create a pilot system.

The project brings together the specific skills of the three organisations involved to utilise and build on the success of a scheme that is common across other sectors. The DOI system provides an infrastructure for the registration and use of persistent, interoperable identifiers, called DOIs, for use on digital networks. The DOI Foundation was launched in 1998 and over 114 million DOI names have been registered to date across many sectors.

The DOI for construction products must be a system that is of real use to the sector and we want input from as many people as possible 

The first stage of the research project, which will run for two years, will involve in depth consultation with construction industry professionals including contractors and consultants as well as building product manufacturers via a series of interviews and workshops.

Commenting on the project, Head of Research, Analysis & Forecasting at NBS Adrian Malleson said:

We see this project as an important element of the drive to create a digital construction industry; the objective is to create a system that will facilitate the permanent and unambiguous identification of construction products. The DOI system is used globally which is vital to achieve the growth in exports for UK construction firms which is a key aspect of the Government’s strategy for the sector. The DOI for construction products must be a system that is of real use to the sector and we want input from as many people as possible.

Anthony Burd Head of Construction at BSI said:

“We are thrilled to be a main partner on this important project. Having been involved with the project from its inception, we are looking forward to further engaging with the construction industry to identify and understand, what benefits a DOI system could bring to the entire sector. As the UK’s National Standards Body, we have been working closely with the Industry for a number of years to help support digitization of the sector, in areas such as Building Information Modelling, and this project is seen as another potential part of that transition.”

For more information about how you could help in the development of the DOI please contact James Forbes at NBS,